(15 October) The Minister of Education has insisted that classes on traditional Thai dancing will not be excluded from the reformed curricular for public schools, contrary to the rumour which has been circulating on the social network.
Earlier today, rumours that the Office of the Basic Education Commission (OBEC) plans to remove traditional performing arts from the current curricular by 2015 have caused many netizens to vent their anger at the supposed plan, and accuse the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra of destroying Thai culture.
Several celebrities also joined the online crusade. Notable song-writer, Mr. Nitipong Honark, posted messages on his Facebook with provocative languages such as "I ain’t being f***ing dramatic, but I empathize with life” and “who are you OBEC? Who are you MOE? …. Could you please arrange some coherence curricular? … or just quit!”, referring to Ministry of Education.
According to the song-writer, the OBEC and MOE have failed to preserve tradition performing arts in its place due to their decision to remove the subject off from the future curricular.
Mr. Nitipong also wrote, “it is the reign of the square-heads", using the term that refers to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, the brother of Ms. Yingluck, who is generally seen by the anti-government critics as having a hand in nearly everything that has gone wrong in Thailand.
Mr. Nitipong is not alone. Comedian star and the College of Dramatic Arts graduate, Ms. Sudarat “Tukky” Butrphrom, also joined the heated arguments and wrote on her Facebook bluntly that: "I learned the damn performing arts".
She warned that if the courses on Thai traditional dancing are removed from public schools, "it is a countdown to the doomsday when we forgot about our own roots. The world is moving forward, and we must reserve, preserve, and conserve Thai traditions in Thailand as long as we can.”
After the rumours had spread far and wide via social media, Mr. Chaturon Chaisaeng, Minister of Education, told the press there is no plan to remove the subject from the new curricular.
He said he had urged his officials to gather public opinions and promote the understanding about the educational reform as soon as possible.
As the Head of the Curricular Reform team, Deputy Education Minister, Mr. Pawich Thong-Rojna, repeated the same information. He told ‘insidethaigov’ that the whole rumour was false.
“I don’t how how the rumour was generated”, said deputy Education Minister, “It is true that we are reforming the national’s education curricular, but I can assure you that we are not removing traditional Thai dancing".
According to the Minister and the Deputy Minister, the educational reform will divide several classes into 6 divisions, reduced from 8 divisions currently applied to public schools.
Thai traditional performing arts, though labeled under a different name, is included in “Arts and Humanity Science group”, which is a non-compulsory subject.
The Education Minister explained that the reform needs to take place, as the students do not have sufficient time to study more fundamental subjects such as Thai language and Mathematics.
By making the subject optional in high school level, the student who possesses real passion in the subject will also be allowed to study more intensely in the area, Mr. Chaturon said.
He added, “It is quite surprising the story had been badly distorted into a totally different story”
In September, much of the social network was similarly angry at the government when the report that the officials were planning to tax unmarried individuals had been circulated. Top officials in Ms. Yingluck′s government were later forced to announce that no such plan ever exists.
The original reportin fact refers to a lecturer of Rangsit University who suggested that taxing bachelors and bachelorettes would be a good idea to stimulate population growth in Thailand.